Getting my mojo back – open mic gigs #17 and #18

I’ve been struggling a bit for the past month, trying to get a couple of different sets of new material to work. It’s a bit of a come-down after the buzz of getting my first five minutes working so well, suddenly it all feels a lot harder.

I know this is all part of the process – new stuff is always going to take time to develop and there are always going to be nights where it doesn’t work. But going from getting solid laughs every time I go up to getting a room full of blank looks and silence is a real slap to the ego.

This week it felt like things were getting back on track. I did We Are Funny in Dalston on Tuesday night, performing the new set of dick-jokes I’ve been trying out. It feels a bit hacky, because it’s mostly about porn but, after bombing so hard with my attempt at doing political stuff recently, I’m happy to go for some easy laughs.

It was the third time I delivered this material, and it still felt raw – it’s got legs, but I’ve not worked out all of the punchlines and some of it needs to be tightened up. It was a quiet night at WaF without many non-performers in the audience, which meant it was hard to gauge the strength of the material. I got some laughs and it was a good opportunity to rehearse the set, but I still wasn’t feeling particularly confident at the end of it.

On Thursday I got a walk-in spot at Comedy Virgins. I was thinking of trying the political stuff again, but decided that I’d persevere with the smut because I’ve got most of it memorised now and it’ll be easier to improve it once I can deliver it without notes. I had a set-list written on the back of my hand but I felt like I was able to get through the set with only a few glances at it.

I’d tweaked some of the bits since Tuesday too, having had time to think about what was and wasn’t working. It all paid off because the reaction from the audience was the best so far for that material, and that gave me some of my confidence back. I now feel like this set is really starting to take shape and after a few more gigs it should be pretty solid.

I’ve also been thinking about the political material and I really want to try it again – it doesn’t seem right to retire the whole set on the basis of one bad night, especially since it’s still largely untested. But right now I want to get the other material polished and committed to memory, so I’m going to focus on that for the next few gigs.

I was at the gig with my friend Pauline Stobbs, who picked up the trophy for being the audience’s favourite act of the night. I am no longer friends with her.

Other memorable acts this week include Chloe Petts, who I saw at We Are Funny, and Jessica Forrest at Comedy Virgins. Apparently Jessica has only done stand-up twice and I’ve coincidentally been at both of those gigs. She does a great Hampstead Yummy Mummy character act, which I wouldn’t be surprised to see on TV sooner or later.

Don’t have much free time to gig next week, but I might drop into the Lion’s Den on Tuesday, and the week after I’ve got a spot booked at Comedy Virgins again.

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